Top Stories
Top Stories
Personal Finance

The 10 best US cities to build wealth

Richard B. Levine | Corbis | Getty Images

Many things, beyond a high-paying job, affect your ability to amass a fortune.

Among them are how much people can save after taxes, what job opportunities are available in their area and how easily they can buy a home. All make a significant difference to someone's net worth.

"When it comes to building wealth, people think more about income than what it takes to create a high net worth," said Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell.

To find fertile ground for wealth building, Bell scored 21 major metropolitan markets on their residents' savable income after taxes, human capital, access to financial services, homeownership rates and debt burdens.

Bell ranked the 21 cities by those five indicators with a score of zero through 10 and gave each metro area a total weighted score out of 50.

"I found that cities have different ways for building wealth," Bell said. Some cities offered six-figure salaries along with sky-high home prices. Others may not have the hottest job markets, but make up for that with affordable housing and low taxes.

Check out Bankrate's full list here.


— By CNBC's Tom Anderson
Posted 24 Oct. 2016

10. Baltimore

Downtown Baltimore, Maryland
Greg Pease | Getty Images

Baltimore is well-rounded. Charm City residents scored high in savings, job opportunities and access to financial services in the Bankrate's analysis.

Total score: 29.57
Savable income score:
6.37
Human capital score: 6.62
Access to financial services score: 7.72
Homeownership score: 4.84
Debt burden score: 4.03

9. Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona skyline
photoquest7 | iStock / 360 | Getty Images

The third-highest savings rate among 21 major metro areas Bankrate studied and the fourth strongest job market put Phoenix on the list.

Total score: 31.13
Savable income score: 9.10
Human capital score: 8.93
Access to financial services score: 2.29
Homeownership score: 7.10
Debt burden score: 3.70

8. Denver

Denver
Swapan Jha | Moment Open | Getty Images

Denver has the third-highest level of home ownership and a solid savings rate, according to Bankrate.

Total score: 33.80
Savable income score: 8.24
Human capital score: 7.70
Access to financial services score: 3.53
Homeownership score: 8.63
Debt burden score: 5.70

7. Boston

A Boston scene
Jean-Pierr Lescourret | Getty Images

A robust labor market and a low debt burden make Boston a top spot to build wealth.

Total score: 34.14
Savable income score: 4.31
Human capital score: 9.66
Access to financial services score: 6.86
Homeownership score: 4.32
Debt burden score: 9.00

6. Seattle

Home to Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle provides residents a strong local economy with plenty of high-paying tech jobs and good access to financial services.

Total score: 34.37
Savable income score: 6.90
Human capital score: 8.06
Access to financial services score: 8.62
Homeownership score: 4.18
Debt burden score: 6.60

5. Detroit

"Detriot's real estate market is extremely accessible," Bankrate's Bell said. A low level of debt also helped the Motor City make it to the middle of the pack on this list.

Total score: 35.43
Savable income score: 7.96
Human capital score: 2.75
Access to financial services score: 4.73
Homeownership score: 10.00
Debt burden score: 10.00

4. St. Louis

Bankrate scores St. Louis the highest on access to financial products that help residents save, invest and borrow efficiently.

Total score: 35.76
Savable income score: 6.94
Human capital score: 5.97
Access to financial services score: 10.00
Homeownership score: 7.42
Debt burden score: 5.43

3. Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C.
Jess Escribano | EyeEm | Getty Images

Washington, D.C., residents have the second-highest savings rate among people in cities Bankrate examined. Plenty of high-paying government jobs didn't hurt either.

Total score: 38.64
Savable income score: 9.30
Human capital score: 9.74
Access to financial services score: 8.56
Homeownership score: 6.94
Debt burden score: 4.11

2. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Henryk Sadura | Getty Images

Part of the reason Minneapolis won the second spot on the list is that it had the lowest average unemployment rate over the past five years among the 21 metro areas Bankrate studied.

Total score: 39.88
Savable income score: 5.02
Human capital score: 10.00
Access to financial services score: 6.50
Homeownership score: 9.18
Debt burden score: 9.18

1. San Francisco

San Francisco
Compassandcamera | Getty Images

Sure, the median home price is $1.1 million in San Francisco, but this high-priced real estate market comes with opportunities.

"High-than-average income helps Bay Area residents build their net worth faster than people in other metro areas," Bankrate's Bell said.

San Franciscans have the fifth-lowest level of non-mortgage debt and the second-highest credit score among the metro areas analyzed.

Total score: 40.08
Savable income score: 10.00
Human capital score: 8.93
Access to financial services score: 5.58
Homeownership score: 5.85
Debt burden score: 9.71